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by Harry O'Toole (hpotoole@netzero.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Family   User Review:

An Irish immigrant family adapts to living in 1890's era American city. A boys street game becomes the center of activity when a rival German street team takes an Irish boy hostage.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



      (as action begins)
In the time of the trolley car
before the coming of the
automobile , boys ran in the
freedom of summer. They ran down
alleys, jumped over fences,
through clothes lines, through
bushes and brambles, over ditches
. Some ran with out shoes, some
with out shirts, some without
shoes or shirts. They yelled, they
hooted, they hollered, they
laughed . They wore knee pants or
shorts; shirts torn, dirty and
ragged. All were lean and tanned,
scratched and bruised, in the
prime of health. They played a
game without ball or field,
without coaches or spectators.
They did not know how happy they
The eye locks on a trolley car as it stops, rocks and rolls,
sparks and sputters. Starts up again, jerks, and sparks once
more as it makes it's evening round, returning the working
folk home to family and supper.
At the Biddle Street crossing it sways to "Dixie" from the
nickelodeon music rolling out of Duffy's Tavern ; makes a
turn, sways to the yodeling songs of the street venders .

Inside the trolley , as the conductor cries "Mullanphy", a
boy in knee pants,
his mother and father carrying suitcases, unseat themselves
move to the rear door, escorted by an uncle, who carries
more luggage.
Mechanically the electric rear door opens before them.
The boy hesitates then hops down onto the sidewalk.

On the sidewalk an organ grinder with his monkey performer
is cranking out his songs.
Lured by the music and the miniature monkey, the lad
wanders from his parents urgent course.
His dad tries to coaxed him back. The grinning uncle,
hands his nephew a penny, he in turn drops it in the


monkeys collection cup, who tips his tiny hat. The organ
man, sensing the occasion of these new arrivals as new
immigrants , switches his music to
"Yankee Doodle Dandy".

As the family troop marches away to the tune, the boy lopes
into a skipping step.
The uncle points out the steeple of St. Bridget's church.
As they enter Sarsfield Street, a residential block lined
with rows of brick two story flats. They gaze at these
flats with their scattered occupants talking from doorways,
playing in the streets, cleaning up their small green lawns.
The boy notices the arrows of chalk, drawn on the sidewalk
which are pointing them to the their destination. A pack of
yelping kids, boys of all sizes , run down the opposite
walk in the same direction, turn a corner at the end of the
block, their yells losing volume as they disappear.
The uncle halts abruptly, as though he has over stepped the
his destination.
Pivoting to his left, with a grand gesture, points out a
corner two family flat that is to be their new home.
Here it is , our place. We're on
the first floor.
You get the top, higher floor,
lower rent.
At the ice house the brothers wait as the wagon is being
loaded with ice,
and the horse hitched . The sun is at eye level as they
move out of the shed.
Henry drives the ice wagon with Owen seated beside him.
Ready to be an iceman Owen !!.
How heavy are these ice blocks ?
They weigh what they say; if a
customer asks for 25 pounds, then
you got to carry 25 pounds. If he
asks for 100 pounds, you better
hope he don't live on the third
How's he gonna ask ?


They put a card sign in their
widow with the numbers 25, 50 ,
and 100, printed along the edges.
The number that they turn to the
top is the one they want that day.
You'll see.
We never had ice delivered at our
house in Ireland . Is it this hot
weather here that makes them want
to have ice ? Looks like It's
gonna be hot again today !
You ain't felt the full heat of
summer here yet. It's not like
August at home. Ice water will
feel so good dripping down your
back in August.
Then when the ice stops melting ,
we start hauling coal; you'll have
work here all year ! It's going to
be hard on your back the first
week, then you'll toughen up an
get use to it.
I not so sure I can hold up
carrying coal. It's heavier than
ice, ain't it ?
About the same, only you don't
carry it up, you slide it down.
Most places have coal bins in the
cellar. Bet you didn't even know
we had one. You might get on at
stacking the ice as it comes in.
Heavy work until you know how to
slide it along.
It sure must be cold up there
right now in Canada !
They harvested the ice last winter
in Minnesota !


All this ice is saved from last
winter ?
Yes, they cut it from ponds far up
north; store it in ice houses up
there , then they float it down
the river.
And it doesn't melt ?
Not in the water, on barges !
Why don't they just get it from
the river down here ?
Have you had a look at the river
here ? It's muddy or worse. You
wouldn't want to put that ice in
your beer !
They better never put ice in my
beer !
They just use ice to keep it cool
in the beer cellar. Who'd buy a
beer that's water down; although
I've seen some of those rich
dandies put ice in there whisky.
They got our wagon hitched up.
Toward the last of the days delivers, Owen climbs a back
yard staircase with a block of ice. As he swings it off his
shoulder, it slips out of the ice tongs, slides down the
stairs, crashes and shatters as it strikes a clothes post.
Little kids playing in the backyard, scramble for the
pieces. Henry roars with laughter.
Be glad it was only a twenty five
pound block.
That's going to come out of your
paycheck, Owen.


In the kitchen of Emma and Henry's, Emma and Lucy are
preparing food.
The kitchen is furnished with a gas stove, an icebox , gas
lights on the walls,
a granite slab sink drain board; a large table occupies the
center of the room .
Charlie is about twelve,I'd guess.
Yes, plus some.
Tommy is eleven, plus some, but
you wouldn't guess it the way he
acts like a little boy at times.
It's probably my fault cause he's
been the only one.
He'll change when your new baby
arrives. He will be the big
brother then. My Charlie will
always be a little boy, they say
he can't learn much.
He seems to be a well behaved lad.

You must have been very patient
with him.
                                         SCENE MOVES TO
In the cool and dim light of the cellar, Tommy takes a
census of the storehouse.
Boxes stacked on boxes, some with their contents peeking
out, cans and jars. Charlie , without comment or
suggestion, goes directly to the wash area; stands there,
staring down at the floor drain. Tommy arrives next to him.
Charlie opens up his fly and pees into the drain. Following
the custom that boys do, Tommy does likewise. Charlie
finishes relieving himself, but doesn't return his prick to
his pants. Suddenly, Charlie reaches over and gives a tug
at Tommy's prick Tommy in turn gives Charlie's long
prick a good hearted yank. Charlie bellows out a hooting
laugh, which is followed by, the demanding question. from
his mother.


      (call down stair
       to basement)
What's going on down there ?
Tommy without answering, runs up the steps first ; hoping to
brunt the full truth with a believable lie , before Charlie
blurts out the truth. Tommy flops himself in an open kitchen
chair; waits for the inquisition to begin. Sluggishly as
usual, Charlie climbs the stairs, makes one step in to the
kitchen; where his mother, stunned on seeing Charlie's still
exposed penis dangling, jumps from her chair, cries out in
Oh.Charlie ! "Put your pee pee
back in.
She turns to the wall, trying to hide a sob; faced back to
her sister-in-law,
He forgets himself sometimes, I'm
so worried ! He's getting so big.
Lucy, takes her sister-in-laws hand.
Eases her down to a chair.
Emma, we can teach him. He will
learn in time; just let me help.
Tommy , although reprieved by Charlie 's mistake, attempts
to further distance his involvement with a half truth
He peed in the drain. I told him
that was bad, but he thought he
was being silly and just laughed.
I came up stairs to tell you.
It's your Uncle Henry's fault,
Charlie does whatever his father
All together, not Charlie , chuckle at Henry's slip from
proper behavior.
Charlie, obeying his mothers orders, unashamedly in view of
his family, lowers his trousers, stuffs his penis in his
drawers, pulls up his trousers, and shows his now tidy


attire to his mom, expecting praise. Too exasperated to
praise him , Emma looks away.
Tommy pee too !
Tommy,he lay low !
An evening shower forces the family to retreat indoors. The
men go to the
cellar, the women to the kitchen, both to continue the talk
of the day.
Tommy chooses to be with the men. Owen slumps onto a
stack of saved newspapers; his muscle still sore from their
new task.
Uncle Henry takes to working on a storage shelf . Tommy
eavesdrop on their conversation.
Have you seem those little bands
of music makers marching down the
sidewalks, the ones wearing
uniforms ? Those are those
Teetotalers Missionaries They're
preaching their gospel of , no
booze, no smokes , no gambling.
Duffy threw a bucket of beer on
them when they stopped outside his
A terrible waste , I'd say
I got to tell you what happened
one time I made a delivery to the
young widow Welch!
Go on , I'm all ears.
Not while little big ears is
listening !
Tommy sits on the floor, tearing up a newspaper into smaller
and smaller scraps.


What you doing over there ?
Making something .
Clean up that mess.
I'm gonna when I'm done
Oh, so now you are "telling" your
uncle !
This ain't a mess it's something
I'm making.
Looks like a rats nest.
It looks like your hair in the
Henry grins at this sass talk from his nephew, then makes a
swing with his hand, as though he was trying to clip his
nephew on the ear. Tommy dodges this, gets to his feet,
runs behind a wash tub for protection. Henry picks up the
tub with ease, leaving Tommy open to capture. He drops and
crawls under a laundry table. Henry grabs for a leg and
pulls him out until he has a grip on his waist. Tommy
pretends to be subdued, his uncle relaxes his hold, allowing
him to twist free, only to be recaptured when Henry pins him
in a corner of the stone walled basement. Owen remains lying
flat on a work bench.
I'd say. hat boy's earned a good
solid whooping, with his smart
With that suggestion, Henry puts one foot on a
wooden crate and throws Tommy over his knee in a spanking
position, but instead of a whack, uses his large hands to
squeezehard one cheek of the boys rump. Tommy yells, a
wonderful yelp !
Sounds just like you, Owen !


Got yourself a new little brother,
They exchange knowing smiles !
Yah, thanks to you
He gives a squeeze to Tommy's butt again, lighter this
time. Tommy repeats his loud yelp. His uncle lowers his
foot to let him slump to the floor where he sits spread
legged, looking defeated. Then rebounds with the request.
Give me something to make.
His uncle lifts him straight up and stands him on the wooden
box, facing him to the work bench.
When I was growing up in Ireland I
wanted to a carpenter. There was
hardly any building going on; so
here I am in America and I build
benches in my basement from
scrap they throw out at the
furniture factory. I'll take you
there on Throw Out Day; get some
good lumber and we'll build
something for you .
I don't want a bench; let's build
me something with wheels.
In the kitchen of Emma and Henry's flat.
I did not want to do nothing but
sit at home and take care of
Charlie. Then Martha , my mother's
cousin, says she knew of a shop
that sells speciality made
clothing for the well-to-do.
That's how I got to making these
baptismal dresses . The wealthy
like to get their babies all
dressed up for a photograph.
Martha loaned me the money for my


                       EMMA (cont'd)
first sewing machine !
All that sewing must be exhausting
The machine makes it much easier ,
you just pump the treadle and the
machine does the sewing. Now I am
my own business women. I sew in my
name on each dress. Its more than
just sewing I do; I choose the
cloth, the lace and bits of other
special decorations . Do my own
books too. Once a month I go
downtown to talk over orders with
the owners. They are an English
couple .We go to tea afterwards.
I didn't know the English were
here too .
Oh , yes the Americans booted
them out a hundred years ago but
they are coming back now to make
their fortunes here. They
certainly know how to make money,
that is why they rule the world.
Still, they are very courteous to
me and show such polite manners;
except they don't say polite
things about the Irish.
Well they don't rule America ,
that's why we came here.
I don't say nice things about the
English. If you were Irish you
would know why.
So I see I got your Irish up!
Owen says Henry poked fun at him
all the time; still isn't that the
way big brothers are !


He still does. Some day you and I
must go downtown ; see things
before you are too far along. Take
tea too. One of these days I might
have you do a bit of sewing for
me. Not for a while; when the
little one comes you will have
lots to do. Won't it be nice to
have a wee one toddling about !
Do you take Charlie with you, when
you go?
No, no. Wouldn't dare , couldn't
do business with him around.
He stays with Martha then.
Martha has been good to you.
Better than my own mom, but don't
let that get out. Of course my mom
has her own troubles . I'll tell
you more when I know you better.
Charlie is becoming a worse
worry lately. He is growing fast.
Have you noticed he has
a little mustache ? I don't know
what will happen next !
As Owen and Henry sit on chairs in the rear yard of their
flat, they watch, Tommy mimic the organ grinder's monkey,
jumping around and scratching himself. Charlie imitates
his every move, laughing as he does it.
Henry laughs along.
I wrote you about Charlie's
condition; now you can see what he
is like.
He doesn't appear to be so crazy.


He is not crazy , he is just
behind in his brain, way behind.
It's good to see Tommy will play
with Charlie , even though Charlie
is still only five years old in
his head.
Sometimes Tommy goes on acting
like he's five too, acting like
that organ grinder monkey even at
home, even without Charlie. The
boy doesn't see he's gotta act
grown up sometime
Just hold on to him a while; all
too soon he'll have to go to work;
then you'll be wishing he was
still climbing on you.
Wish I had gotten a little
monkey hugs from Charlie. When I
married Emma , Charlie was about 4
years old. I wanted him to get
use to me, but when I tried to
hold him he would scream like he
was terrified of me. He wouldn't
even look at me. Have you ever
heard that awful screech he lets
out when he's scared ? That's the
way he would , when I'd tried to
sit him on my lap. I've never hurt
him , never even spanked him. I
think maybe they kept him hidden
too long, away from people, even
other kids.
Later on I thought I could teach
him things , make things, but he
can't even hit a nail straight.
But he sure can bust up a soap
crate with a hammer, he makes
great kindling wood. Thought
I could teach him to shine shoes.
Would give him some way to make
money, later . He smeared the
polish on his hair. Was sad. I
was suppose to laugh but I
couldn't even smile.
Troubles you never asked for .


No I walked right into it, didn't
know he was going to be so much a
problem. Emma had caught my eye at
a ball game the fellows were
playing after hours behind the ice
house. She was watchun us; look'en
at us like some kid look'en in a
sweet shop window.
At a break, knowing I was single ,
Lindell, said I should go over and
talk to her. Not knowing what to
say , I ask her if she could fetch
us some ice water. She pointed to
a bucket on a bench and said that
everyone else was drinking from
that one. But I think it was just
a tease, cause she right off asked
me my name. She told me her first
name but didn't say her last. I
had a hard time getting my name
out since she had tripped me up
with that tease. Somehow we got
to talking about the players, who
they was and who was best.
That was the first time. What
Lindell didn't tell me was she was
Carl's daughter. Even then he was
the foreman ! Then one time I had
to take on part of Elton's route
cause he was out sick.
I knock on one of these houses to
deliver and there was Emma
answering the door. Right off she
lets out a big hello, letting me
know she knew me. That's how I got
to seeing her regularly.
Still wonder if was fate or a
plot. Then when I start seeing her
at home , Carl seemed to be
friendly to me, even though I
wasn't German. It was well after I
had been seeing her for a year
that Emma mentioned Charlie. Carl
seemed to think I was steering
clear of her then.
Just happened to hit a time when I
was feeling uncertain about what
might happens next.
Then one day Carl gives me a new
route; all singles and two family
flats, not one three floor climb
and none in the Patch. Knew then
he was telling me to keep coming


                       HENRY (cont'd)
around. Well we were both
Catholic, so I finally decided on
Emma . He was even more generous
when we was wed; pays for the
first month rent. Maybe he just
wanted Charlie out of his home.
Anyway, you see, I grabbed the
breaks when they came my way .
We got to take what comes our way,
we didn't inherit any fortune.
: Emma thinks God gave her this
burden because of what she did.
That's how her priest explained
Charlie's condition.
What did Charlie do bad that God
made him without enough brains ?
(sarcastically)Oh I know ! The
Lord Almighty ways are too great
for we mortals to understand.
Did I tell you she was only
fifteen when she had him; so she
was fourteen when that young
fellow got to her.
Did she ever tell you who he was.
Was no great secret, was a
neighbor boy, and more, he was
only twelve. Neither knew that
screwin would make babies. The
good fathers will not bless that
kind of marriage, for sure.
When I was twelve, I knew for sure
about making babies. I didn't
even go near girls; thought about
them but didn't dare touch them.
Course I did other things !
What "other things " ?


You know !
Owen gives the "fist with thumbs up" gesture .
They chuckle together.
Sometimes now I still do that when
Emma has a panic about having
another like Charlie. So then we
just do "other things ".
What "other things "
I'll tell you when you when you
grow up !
Sure is good being able to talk to
your face again .
We can't say some things in our
The meal sits waiting on the stove in the kitchen of Lucy
and Owen's flat.
The kitchen is similar to Emma and Henry's, except there are
no curtains on the windows, the wall shelf is bare of cups.
The plates, forks and knives in proper position, ready on
the calico covered kitchen table. Lucy circles from stove
to window; stirs the coals in the fire box, checks her face
in the window pane, mutters something. Tommy sits, fighting
off sleep. Daylight is noticeable dimming.
Where's Dad ?
Lucy , fanning herself to cool off, goes to the window and
takes a deep breath.
There is a whisper of music coming in , an Irish melody.
She shudders at the sound; tears slowly run down her face.
She closes the widow and paces the room.

When a shoe sounds on the first step, Tommy jumps. He meets
his father before he makes it to the top, opens the door
for him, smiling like proper young doorman !
Lucy is ready to pounce with her prepared speech, waits for
his first drunken slurred word that would gave trigger the
outburst . He moves directly to the table and sits down, in


an obvious stupor. He does not even indicate he senses her
Let's eat !
Let's Eat !! Let's Eat !! You
think that's all you got to do is
open your mouths to get fed. Do
what your suppose to do without
being time told every time. Help
serve !
It ain't me that's late , mama.
Lucy, you gotta know; cause I got
my first pay check, a fellow's
got to buy a round. It's the
custom here.
And who says it's gotta be the
custom here ??.
It was just my crew ; It wasn't
the whole damn barn ! These
fellows I gotta work with day
after day. We gotta get to know
each other. ( pausing ). I did not
gamble. Now here's what your
worrying about
He pulls a roll of bills from his trousers and drops it
dramatically on the table.
No, it's you I worry about, you
drinking and falling down getting
Nevertheless she scopes up the bills, and makes a quick
Somewhat relieved by the cash in her apron, she begins to
serve out the meal.
Neglecting manners and even grace , the two shovel in the
potatoes, as Lucy
slices the roast. She sits. He samples the beef, says "yum
". One yum out of him, the only complement she gets.
Watching them devour the meal says even more than "yum".


Finishing the meal, Owen eases himself off the chair and
lays on the floor.
Oh me poor back ! I think I'm
never gonna straighten up.
Give me a horsey ride.
Your too big for a horsey ride.
Tommy straddles his dad anyway.
You wanna wrestle?
I couldn't westle a wabbit if I
wanted to.
Dad said "westle a wabbit ".
Now don't you go thinkin that's so
funny. That's just stupid drink
Owen, with slow effort pulls his legs up, so that the boy
rides head low with butt high on his knees with toes
touching the floor , hands holding his fathers like a
bridle, in the classical pose of the jockey rider. Tommy
chuckles at his awkward posture !
There are dishes here to do ,
Tommy !
Let my little jockey be. You know
I'm gonna make a rider out of him
some day. I'm good with horses !
And is he going to be racing with
one of those mares on the ice
wagons ?
With Tommy still sitting on his fathers knees, silence
falls . Only the muted street sounds murmur into the room.


Look, I tink he's sleeping.
"Tink " ? You ought to "tink "
about getting up and going to bed.
You know, I do tink ( deliberate )
he gives off healing rays. Like
maybe it's curing me backache !
He won't be climbing on me much
longer , you know !
Tinkel, tinkel little star, I
wonder how up the skirt you are.
That's vulgar and not clever
either. You come home late for
dinner and drunk on top of that.
So is this what it is going to be
like. You can forget me holding
your late suppers. Is this going
to be, every pay day .
She waits for a challenging response . He gives none.
Well if you truly cared for your
boy you'd set a better example .
Don't you love him ?
Sure I do. He is us !
The unexpected comment brings a glow of color to Lucy's face
followed by a flow of tears.
As she gazes at the awkward position of her son on his dad,
she smiles .
She covers the sleeping pair with a blanket.
Quietly she goes off to her bed ; slowly lays down .
In the kitchen of Emma and Henry's flat


Taking tea is such a nice English
custom, don't you agree
Oh I do agree , except Owen wants
coffee most of the time.
Tommy , do you want me to pour a
cup for you ?
Sure !
Emma pours Tommy a cup . He takes a sip, gets up from the
table, goes to the ice box. Taking out a piece of ice he
drops it in his tea cup.
Tommy, you don't put ice in the
tea .
It was hot. It still taste good.
Well it is just not proper !
Henry, outside listening from the stoop as he sips tea,
breaks into the conversation.
If drinking tea with ice will sell
more ice, I'm all for it !
I don't like the English; they are
all prissy
That's not kind! Tommy my boy,
you should learn some manners.
Emma picks up a paper weight statuette from a table of the
classic three monkeys with their hands covering their
mouth, ears, and eyes .
And what lesson do these three
monkeys teach you ?


Don't say anything bad about
"Speak no evil" . Go on !
Don't listen to anything bad
"Hear no evil" . And ?
And don't play with yourself.
Henry, overhearing this answer , blows the tea out of his
mouth, roars with laughter.
That boy sure knows how to let the
cat out of the bag !
He will never learns proper
manners hanging around you
Next day in the kitchen of Lucy and Owen's flat.
Watch, when I pull out my ears,
Charlie will do the same !
Tommy demonstrates. Charlie imitates.
Now watch this, when I stand on my
head , Charlie does it too.
He does it pretty good.
Tommy stands on his head. Charlie does the same on first
You see he can learn things !
If you write his name , will he
write it too ?


No he only does monkey things.
When will he get better? I'm
tired of playing monkey games !
Oh, honey, Charlie will never be
smart; his brain is damaged.
What game do you want to play ?
Games like the boys in the street
Then get out the house and play
with them.
I don't know them !
Well you won't meet them playing
in here.
Time for you to run on your own.
Tommy watches a pack of boys meandering down the center of
the street, laughing and jostling, then , together they drop
on a lawn exhausted.
He follows at a distance behind. Spots one of the smaller
boys resting on a step , exhausted from the run of the game
just played out. Without the simplest greeting he says to
the boy,
Can I play ? .
The lad looks up, sizes him up and calls by name one of the
older boys.
A boy, a head taller than Tommy, gives him a quizzical look,
than responds "
You a greenhorn ?
Well I'm Irish , is that good
enough to play ?


Greenhorn means you just got off
the boat !
Two weeks ago I did, but I'm going
to be an American soon.
Kerry goes over to some of the older boys to talk over
Tommy's. wish.
They glance over, notice his small size . Kerry comes up
with a suggestion ,
he relates it to the group. Then goes to Tommy , with his
We are getting low on chalk , if
you fill this cigar box with
chalk, we'll give you a try.
He hands the empty box to Tommy with both hands, as though
it is a ceremonial ritual . Tommy, in turn accepts it with
both hands.
I don't even know the rules of the
game; why do you want chalk?
Get the box filled first and we'll
explain the rules then.
In the kitchen of Lucy and Owen's flat.
Mom, can I have some chalk ?
Chalk , I've got no chalk; why do
you need chalk ?
To play a game !
What game; are you going to play
hopscotch ?
What's hopscotch ?


You know, the games that girls
play . You seen them playing .
They draw a squares on the
sidewalk with chalk and try to
jump into them with out touching
the lines.
Tommy goes in search of the hopscotch players . Hearing a
street rhyme from a bevy of girls, turning a jump rope,
singing " Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack ". He follows the sound
to tall brick building grade school. He spots three girls
playing hopscotch on the brick schoolyard of one side of the
He walks up to one girl waiting her turn and says
Hello !
The girl, aware that she does not know him, asks :
Who are you ?
What you looking for ?
Just looking to see how you play
this game .
You got to jump into one of the
squares , and land only on one
foot, but you can't jump out of
the boxes. Then it gets harder;
you got to pick up your piece
while standing on one leg with out
bending your knees.
Where do get the chalk for the
      (pauses to
Can I play ?


Oh, we got lots of it; my mommy
gives us broken pieces. See that
basket over there !
Boys can't play this game. They
don't have balance.
I do, I can walk forever on a
railroad rail. If I win, will you
give me some chalk ?
We don't play to win things , we
could give some chalk for trying.
Tommy watches a demonstration by one girl, then takes his
turn; glancing around first to be certain no boys are
watching. On his first attempt to pick up the piece be
wobbles and puts his foot down to prevent falling on his
face. The girls all giggle.
Told you so ! You can have a piece
of chalk for trying anyway!
Tommy picks up the largest piece. Then is startled by the
realization that it isn't chalk.
      (Yelling .)
This ain't chalk; its soap !
It writes good.
Stupid girls !
Tommy slams the soap piece on the bricks.
The girls together begin pelting him with the pieces of soap
as he runs off.
Tommy's pappa and uncle are in their cellar playing a game
of cards.


I think I got to have some chalk
for school, can you give me some
money .
The pupils don't write on slate
boards here, they write on paper.
Why you thinking about school so
soon ?
It's not for school that chalk ,
is it . It's that game.
Yes, but they won't let me play
unless I give them chalk.
Well don't just ask for money for
games. If you want money you got
to earn it.
How am I gonna earn money.
Do some chores for people.
I take out the garbage pail.
No, that's your home chores. Take
out other peoples garbage or run
errands, things like that.
I got an errand for you right now.
Go down to Duffy's and have him
fill our beer bucket .
Tommy runs down the sidewalk with the bucket to the tavern
on the corner.
The barkeeper fills the bucket, takes the coin, gives him
Outside Tommy lifts the bucket lid , takes a sip, spits it
out, displaying a bitter taste with his face.. Goes to the
cellar. Hands off the bucket . Waits to be paid.
Looks like you had a swallow !


No ! I didn't like the way it
So now the truth come out.
The brothers smile. Uncle gives Tommy the two pennies from
the change.
His father matches it. Tommy runs off.
We're going to spoil the boy for
sure !
There is a time to toil and a
time to spoil !
Tommy sees Ginny, the little girl from the flat across the
street sitting on her front steps. Spotting her writing on a
play school slate with chalk.
What are you playing with Ginny ?.
I'm not playing , I'm doing my
Let me have a look.
See, I know how to write " candy'
and " apple". I am starting first
grade when school opens. Are you
going to go to school, then, too ?
Yes. Can I see if I can write on
your slate.
Write my name !
She hands the slate to Tommy and he writes "Ginny" in large
letters, then hands the slate back to Ginny.


Wish I had some chalk to practice
with. You got any to spare ?
No, my mama only gives me only two
piece so that I don't waste it
and this ones almost worn down.
How would you like to trade that
new piece of chalk for a pencil to
write with? That's what the big
girls use to write with.
I'll ask my mama.
Don't ask, she might say no; then
you'll never learn how to write
with a pencil. Wait here and I
will be back in a minute.
Tommy dashes across the street, up the stairs, takes the
grocery list pencil and returns.
Here is an almost new pencil.
Oh it smells good !
I have to go on an errand I'll see
you when school starts.
Tommy dashes home to add the chalk to the cigar box. Ginny
examines the pencil, attempts to write on the chalk board
with it. The pencil does not show a mark on the slate. She
presses harder and the point breaks. Begins to cry ; she
runs into her house. Tells the tale of woe to her mother.
Her mother comes out; marches across the street and pounds
on the door.
Emma comes to the door. Ginny's mom explains what took
place. Emma calls up to Lucy; shouts to bring down Tommy.
Lucy with Tommy following, come to the door.
Shame on you stealing from a
little girl !


I traded it, I didn't steal it !
It just as bad ; go get the chalk
Tommy goes home, returns with the chalk and hands it to
She looks it and says :
Thanks !
Tommy passes by a Five and Dime Store . Walks in, goes to
the counter with school supplies, sees chalk for sale. Reads
the price, counts the coins in his pocket. Recognizes that
a few more pennies will buy chalk to fill cigar box .
He goes to the corner where the organ grinder plays;
bringing along Charlie . Together they watch the monkey
preform his act with the organ grinder. Tommy imitates the
organ grinder, cranking the organ. Charlie does the same.
Tommy has worn a cap and brought along a empty tin can.
Behind the organ grinder's back, Tommy begins to mimic the
monkey; he tips the cap and holds out the collection can. A
passerby stops to watch the double act; then another and
another. At first the organ grinder is amazed by the
increasing audience , then realizing the attention is
directed at the boys; he shouts at them, threatening them
They move off a few yards away. Two of the bystanders
follow them and encourage them to resume ! When they do, the
organ grinder becomes furious, tosses a brick in there
They move off down the street to where the Teetotalers
Mission Band is playing outside a tavern. At the the start
of another musical selection, the boys instantly began
dancing to the opening music. They dance side by side in
synchronized motion, except their movements are a mirror of
the other's steps.
They stomp, spin, hop, in a mock version of an Irish jig.
With the end of music , two of the bystanders encourage
them to continue.
Others gather to watch the dancing, clapping at the end of
the performance.
The Teetotalers Band is do not annoyed by the boys. They
are attracting attention to their cause.
At the end of the fourth dance , one of the men tosses the
boys a coin. Tommy catches it on the fly. Another fellow
also tosses a coin. Charlie grabs it off the sidewalk and


takes off running.
Tommy, perplexed by his cousins action, does not follow.
He glances at the coin in his hand, suggesting that it is
enough to buy that box of chalk from the
Five and Dime.
With the coin still clutched in his fist, Charlie boards a
streetcar. He hands the coin to the conductor. Noticing the
puzzled expression of the boy, the conductor takes the
coin gives him change and inserts the correct coin into the
fare box. Charlie takes a seat near the back by a open
window, watches and listens.
Charlie hears the music. Charlie
hears music in his head. He hears
it whenever he wants to listen,
whatever he wants to hear. No one
knows this. No one would ever
know this. Now on this trolley
ride the nickelodeon plays music .
It plays , Marching Through
Georgia, Dixie, and Rally Round
the Flag; whatever Charlie wants
to hear. It is loud; it bangs on
drums, clangs bells, toots horns.
No one else hears it. Charlie
doesn't know this !
When the trolley turns to repeat its route the conductor
collects Charley's last coin.
As the trolley returns to Charley's neighborhood, he sees
the Teetotalers Band,
he jumps from his seat, yelling " Stop" . The conductor
opens the door; Charley
steps off.
                                         KITCHEN OF HENRY'S
In the kitchen, Emma waits for Charlie to come home for
lunch . She hears the church bell strike one o'clock. She
takes the food off the table,placing it on a ice box shelf .
Emma shouts up the stair well for Tommy to come down.
Tommy bounds down the steps.
Was Charlie with you ? Why
didn't Charlie follow you home for
lunch ?


Charlie run off from me after we
was watching the Teetotaler's
Tommy runs off in search; he reports back that he couldn't
find him; that no kids had seen him, either. After another
hours wait , Emma, with Lucy go out looking and asking. No
sign at all.
Tommy run to the ice house, to
tell your uncle.
Tommy comes across his uncle as he is driving his route.
Henry drives the wagon back to the ice house. Finds Carl,
explains the situation.
I will get a wagon hitched up ;
you go on looking around the
block. Then we are going to have
to look farther out .
Henry, first checking in at home , receives the information.
We been talking to everyone on the
block, nobody seem him since this
Henry decides to circle the block one more time.
As he is about to dodge the marching band of Teetotalers
approaching , he slows his steps, jolts to a halt. He sees
Charlie wearing the big bass drum, beating on it , a broad
smile across his face. Charlie sees Henry; cries out .
Daddy !, I'm busy
Charlie you must come home for
Henry lifts the drum from Charlie; gives an explanation to
the Teetotalers; takes him home to his mother .
      (Speaking to Emma)
I believe Charlie has found his
calling !


In the schoolyard, Tommy hands the cigar box to the leaders.
They open it , inspect the chalk, search for possible pieces
of soap, select some of the longer pieces and pocket them.
KERRY: Now here are the rules. We
call this game Streetliner . First
we make up two teams each with the
same number of kids, the Polecats,
and the Jack Rabbits. One team
goes out first. The first team
marks arrows on the sidewalk as
they go, every 100 feet or so, and
always on turns. The idea is to
get the other team as confused as
you can. Give them about ten
minutes Then when ten minutes is
up they hide together. Then they
write HPO on the sidewalk to tell
they are hiding. We don't know
what it stands for, it's just what
your suppose to write.
When the second team sees the HPO
they start looking.
When they find them they yell "
FIREMEN RUN , or sometimes just "
FIRE ". Then everybody runs back
to home base, here at the
schoolyard; going every which way
you can.
The kid that gets to home first,
his team wins.
What team am I gonna be on ?
Mine, the Polecats, I will be the
leader next game . I pick the way
there. Then when we run, try to
keep up with me this first time so
you don't get lost
I'm fast. My papa says I run like
a gazelle.
What's a gazelle ?
The boys laugh at the description.


Let's see you run!
Tommy sprints, leaping with large strides.
Okey, do I run okey ?
Like a no ass deer . You'll do.
One more thing, we have to stay in
the boundaries .
I'll show you them when we get to
them. Now whatever you do don't
cross Mullanphy Street . That's
where the Dutch guys run their
game .
Don't the Dutch like us ?
They're German , we're Irish, and
worse, lots of em' are
Protestants. We stay in our own
neighborhoods; they stay in
I thought everyone in America was
going to be Americans.
In the school yard ,the two teams assemble to begin a new
game. This time it is Tommy's Polecats turn to follow. The
Jackrabbits head south. After they wait, the Polecats trot
along, following the arrows. Tommy stops to tie his shoe
lace, the others pass him. He misses the turn arrow; begins
running at a sprint to catch up. He sees a pack of boys
straight ahead, and crosses Mullanphy Street !
The group of boys playing the game notice Tommy as he
follows behind them.
Why you following us ?
I thought you here my friends .
His Irish accent giving him away instantly


We aren't your friends we are the
Demons !
You a spy for those Micks ?
No I just thought you were my
We aren't friends of any Micks.
Why did you cross Mullanphy ?
I got confused I thought you were
Do we look like Micks ?
I thought you might be, until I
heard you talk.
We talk right, not like you dumb
Irish .
They lead Tommy to where the others team in hiding. Michael
shouts a signal call and they comes out of hiding. The pack
leaders go into a huddle .They lead him to a vacant lot
between two houses, enclosed with a picket fence along the
back and sides.
Let's keep him for a ransom.
We're too poor; we just got off
the boat !
He is as green as they get ! Any
way we can't do that, its
We could tar and feather him; then
send him back wearing nothing but
feathers, back to the Patch !


We ain't got any tar and feathers
here !
      (Speaking to Tommy)
Well you got to pay a toll for
crossing Mullanphy. What have you
got in those pockets.
Tommy pulls out thee pieces of chalk and a green crystal
Looks sort'a like a green tiger
eye! We'll take the marble .
No it's my good luck marble.
It doesn't work much does it .
Didn't give you any
good luck today ,did it ?
You can have all my chalk.
We don't need chalk .
Roy takes the marble and pockets it. Tommy chokes back
Oh the babies going to cry ! Maybe
you are a girl ?
With that lead, one of the boys behind him pulls down his
shorts. The boys burst into laugh. Another grabs the shorts
. Rolls it up and pitches into a tree branch.
If you want them back you got to
climb up and get them.
Tommy begins to climb the tree trunk. He goes out on the
limb, nearly on his belly. One boy shouts out " watch out
for the pecker bird". Others add their various vulgar
Tommy gets hold of the shorts; works his way back to the
trunk. Sees a chance, an escape route. Instead of climbing
down he goes higher. He leaps from the tree , over the


fence, on to a storage shed roof , down into an ash pit, to
the alley, runs in panic, turning at every empty street.
Owen is eating his supper as Lucy paces as she waits for
Tommy to come home.
Lucy is alarmed. She calls down to Emma, asks if he is with
Charlie. Emma replies "no". After an other hour of waiting,
Owen grasps the situation He goes down the stairs to
alert Henry. Henry leaves his meal.
Together they go off in a frantic search; gathering
information from each street. They are still searching at
dawn. Owen continues his search though the night on foot;
looks even into ash pits and trash yards. They are still
searching at dawn.
Henry goes to Carl's home for help. Carl volunteers the use
of a ice wagon. Carl sees a neighbor leaving for Sunday
church in his buggy; he begs him to take them to the ice
house. They drive to the ice house to hitch up the horse and
ice wagon. Emma hurriedly dresses Charlie in his newly made
uniform, preparing him to play with the Mission Band . She
runs to St. Bridgets church; arrives before the priest is
off the alter from offering the early Mass. She tells the
Father the worse. The priest climbs to the pulpit, repeats
the alarm, dismisses the worshipers. They file out of the
pews with only half genuflects . Outside they gather around
Emma; offering their help. She assigns them to needed
tasks .
Tommy sees a huge , high stone wall, that extends for the
full length of the block. In the wall a wooden door. The
door is open ! Inside is a wooden stairway. He climbs to the
top. There is an entrance room at the top, with a iron
grill door, locked. He can see a street of large homes,
magnificent houses. The stairwell is the servants entrance.
He goes down the steps; darkness is coming. He slumps to the
floor, exhausted .
A treasured memory flows into his mind. The day the great
boat left his home and sailed west."West to a new life , to
a new country, to opportunity, to America" they said. He
wants nothing of their new life, new country, or this
opportunity. He cries alone over the railing.
Young children play on the deck , laughing. The children
are being shown magic tricks by a passenger, a man with
white hair;


laughing each time a trick produces "oohs ! " from the
children .
The " magician ", notices Tommy's tears. Goes to him
How would you like to see some
magic". With a sweep of his arm he
pulls a coin out of the air. Tommy
turns away, muttering
It's not magic, it's just a trick.
So it was. You're a clever lad !
The truth is all true magic is
right between your ears !
In my nose ?
Not in your nose , in your head,
in your brain, my lad. See the
Isle of Kit Kenny that we are
passing? Would you like to take
it to America with you ?
Yes ! You can't ever do that
Hold your hands along the rail;
spread them apart to the size of
the island. Now slowly squeeze the
Tommy follows the instruction. As the ship moves away from
the land he squeezes . The illusion develops in his mind.
The island becomes smaller, and smaller. The sun rises
behind the island. The vision becomes hypnotic . He
squeezes until the island begins to disappear .The magician
reaches over Tommy. Picks up the island. Shows it to him as
it glows between the rising sun. Lays a green crystal
marble in Tommy's. hand
Put it in your pocket; it is yours
to keep. To keep forever .


Tommy embraces the magician and sobs. He sobs again as
falls into sleep in the stairwell.
Sun shine wakens Tommy. He steps out to retrace his path
though the industrial district.
The sun rising in the east gives him his bearings. He
becomes confused as he winds his way out around the factory
buildings and warehouses. Sees the fresh chalk markings
drawn on the sidewalk; the arrows with the X on the end ,
the mark of the Dragons. Hears the voices of the
approaching opposing team. He halts, stands , confused and
paralyze by fear, hands to his head.
The words of the magician echo in
Tommy's head " It is yours to keep
forever, in your brain ! "
The East Wind blows westward,
carrying sounds of flutes and
fiddles, jingle of tambourines,
playing an ancient reel. The
little alchemist that lives
between Tommy's ears , hums along
as he stirs a caldron of his
secret brew. The caldron boils
over; spills out the mysterious
The wee servants within the halls,
sip the potion . Enchanted by
the music of the flute, the beat
of drums; they dance into the
great chamber between the ears and
wake the sleeping Genie .
The Genie stirs ! The Genie rises
! The Mighty Genie speaks:
"The Genius of Your Generations
is at Your Command " !
Open !
From his pocket Tommy takes a chalk piece ; hold it to his
forehead for a moment; drops to his knees ; draws an arrow
on the walk .
It points to territory unknown . A new game begins ! This
time Tommy leads !


The arrows led through the brickyard , stacked, row on row
maze of bricks .No workmen are on duty. Arrows directed them
over walls; up a ladder to a roof. They leap from roof to
roof, down a drain spout. The route is a sig sag path
through a factory district. They arrived at the long high
stone wall, the arrows drawn along it. An arrow is marked
on the door, pointing up. They entered. Arrows drawn on the
stair case, They hesitated, take consul .
Roy , you go up there and see were
it goes.
Tell Alvin to go, he's smaller
Why does smaller matter ?
The stairs might break on me.
Alvin , sees what's up their
Alvin obeys without hesitation. Reports back that the upper
gate is locked.Then suddenly the wooden door slams shut.
They are trapped.
Roy pounds frantically shouting help !
Who's out their ?
It's me. If you want out you got
to give me my marble back !
It's that kid !
Give him his marble.
We ain't got it.
I know you got it , you're the one
that took it.


He'll give it to you, open the
Roll it under the door. I got to
see it first.
The marble rolls out. Tommy picks it up, inspects it and
puts it in his pocket.
First you got to promise to show
me how to get home.
This admission of his situation, brings a few low laughs.
      (Wispering to the
He's so dumb, when he opens the
door we knock him down and lock
him in here.
      (Speaking to Roy)
He's not so dumb, haven't you
notice we are locked in here and
he is outside.
Okay we agree !
One more thing , you got to give
me your word of honor that you
won't tell that I was lost or the
other stuff you made me do !.
      (Speaking to the
Just tell him you will, to get
out , then we still get back at
No, If your word is no good, you
are worthless !!
Then something for the troops ! Albert offers his team a
face saving compromise.


      (Speaking to the
We agree if you will agree, to
give your word too
that you won't tell anyone that
you locked us up in here !
I agree
With their hands on their hearts they swear out loud " On my
word of honor never to tell ." Tommy , hand on heart ,
repeats the oath . He opens the door !
      (Speaking to Tommy)
It was the greatest game , ole
sport .
Taking the role of conquering heros, they marched toward
Mullanphy Street . Then send one boy as a runner on ahead
to relay the news. He meets the other team who in turn join
the march. The news of the lost boy had leap across
Mullanphy street.
Ignoring the risk ,the Irish players also had crossed
Mullanphy as the emergency nullified their fear. They see
the approaching marchers with Tommy brought up front like a
trophy for all to see. Both groups halted for an
explanation. Kerry brings his teammates to a halt.
We were looking for him. He was
trapped in an old warehouse. We
found him! We're taking him home!
Show us where he lives. March
with us !
As the marches near Mullanphy , Owen pulling the ice wagon ,
turns the wagon to the side to avoid them, sees Tommy ,
brings the horses to a jolting stop and shouts !
My boy , my boy , where have you
been !
Owen leaps from the wagon. Tommy runs to him, jumps into his
fathers open arms, knocks him over.They roll in the street ,
laughing and embracing.


St. Bridget's bell signal the good news. Down the street
comes Tommy walking in front of the marchers. As the teams
of boys , now joined together, turns into Mullanphy Street,
they pick up metal trash can lids, drum on them with sticks
. One group takes up to marching in step, an exaggerated
parade step, rasing their arms to blow on imaginary bugles .
Charlie, playing on the corner with the Teetotalers Mission
Band, steps into the street carrying the big drum, joins the
parade, beating a triumphed boom. Tommy's father,
following in the ice wagon, puts the horse into a prancing
step. As the streetcar halts to let the marchers pass, the
trollyman adds to the chorus. Clang ,clang goes the trolley,
ding, ding goes the bell. Little Ginny dares to go into
the street to hand Tommy a small Stars and Stripes to wave.
The strollers on the sidewalk pause to watch . Men come out
of Duffy's; cheer him as he passes. Women come out of
houses. Lucy hears the church bells joyous tone. She runs to
the middle of the street , waits with pounding heart for the
Charlie listened to the roll of
the drums, the bugles tune, music
playing Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Little children danced and sang
to the music.
Everyone heared Charlie's music !
The boys assemble into formations. March in step to the
music as they go down Mullanphy Street.
Oh there never was a parade like
that one that came that day, that
came down Mullanphy Street !


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